Digital News Report – The US Federal Trade Commission announced today that social networking website company, Facebook, has agreed to settle them for charges of private information that was repeatedly made public. The settlement will require independent third-party auditing of Facebook’s privacy for 20 years and will force the company to get consumers’ express consent before making it public beyond their privacy settings.
The FTC had a total of eight-counts in their complaint against Facebook. The government agency charges claimed that Facebook’s privacy promises were unfair, deceptive, and were a violation of federal law.
Some of the things that the FTC charged them with was that they promised to not share users private information with advertisers and the company did. In December 2009, Facebook made certain things that were set as private and made it public without warning the users of the change or getting the users ok. Facebook apps were able to get almost all of the users’ personal data, not just the information that they needed to run the app. Selecting the option of “friends only” sharing did not stop third party apps installed on their friends account from being able to access the information. Facebook claimed to have verified apps that participated in their program, but the FTC said that they did not do this. Users that deactivated or deleted their accounts were told by Facebook that the photos and videos would not longer be accessible on their website, but instead they were. Facebook did not comply with the US-EU Safe Harbor Framework, which claimed that they did.
Facebook will have to comply with the privacy or security that they promise regarding users’ personal information. They will also have to get the users’ affirmative express consent before changing any privacy settings. Users that delete or deactivate there Facebook account will have to prevent access to this content within 30 days.
Facebook will have to get an independent third-party audits every two years. They will have to get their first audit completed within the next 180 days and will continue the bi-annual audits for the next 20 years. The audits will determine if Facebook is meeting the requirements set forth by the FTC order for protecting consumer information.
By: Tim Edwards
Business News Reporter